Norrie gave me a book that I began reading today entitled “Moral Politics: How Liberals & Conservatives Think.”  The first 30 or so pages have been very insightful.  The author, George Lakoff, is attempting to make the connection between our unconscious worldviews which favor either a “Strict, Authoritarian Father” or “Nurturing Parent” and how these connect to our Conservative or Liberal political worldviews.  He is making the connection between our family based morality and our most common ways of conceptualizing politics. 

Generally speaking, Conservative thinkers have done a better job since 1994 of communicating their family-based morality to the masses and, thus, have had greater political success.  Liberals on the other hand have had a more difficult time encapsulating their ideologies in communicable ways so that voters can grasp their agendas.  In other words, Conservatives have a better grasp of their worldview are better salesmen.  Very interesting.

He offers two lists of vocabularies that Conservatives and Liberals use.  You decide which list goes with what ideology.

  1. Character, virtue, discipline, tough it out, tough love, strong, self-reliance, individual responsibility, backbone, standards, authority, heritage, competition, earn, hard work, enterprise, property rights, reward, freedom, intrusion, interference, meddling, punishment, human nature, traditional, commonsense, dependency, self-indulgent, elite, quotas, breakdown, corrupt, decay, rot, degenerate, deviant, lifestyle.
  2. Social forces, social responsibility, free expression, human rights, equal rights, concern, care, help, health, safety, nutrition, basic human dignity, oppression, diversity, deprivation, alienation, big corporations, corporate welfare, ecology, ecosystem, biodiversity, pollution.

In the introduction, Lakoff describes the impetus for the book in a conversation with a close friend (the question that will keep me reading unto the end).  The author asked his friend if he could think of a single question, the answer to which would be the best indicator of liberal vs. conservative political attitudes.  His friend responded with, “If your baby cries at night, do you pick him up?”



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2 responses to “

  1. Does the author reveal his political leanings? On a first glance I would say that list 1 is conservative and list 2 is liberal. The lists seem fair enough but I think it’s difficult to get a sincere look at either side from just a list of words they use.

  2. The first list was for Conservatives and the second, Liberals.  The author’s political leanings are toward the Liberal spectrum.
    I have at least one child a night who cries.  My preference is sleep.

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